olympics

To demolish or design: Japan split on 2020 stadium

31 Comments
By ELAINE KURTENBACH

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31 Comments
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I can see how this is a complicated debate; while there is something to be said for a new, state-of-the-art stadium (which fans in sports markets in which such stadiums were recently built can certainly appreciate), the existing National Stadium is one of the nicest looking buildings in all of Tokyo and, in my opinion at least, still looks more stunning than the spaceship-wannabe that is currently being debated.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

use same old stadium and save money for reconstruction of Tohoku region.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

There are several stadiums In Nagano built for the 1998 Winter Olympics which fell into disuse after the games and which cost the prefecture ¥26 billion per year just to maintain the structures. So if new stadiums are built, will they be used after the games?

5 ( +7 / -2 )

1958 was a long, long time ago. Scale it back, adjust the plans, but build a new stadium. This being Tokyo I have to think it will be used quite often after the Olympics.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Nagano is less than two hours from Tokyo on the Shinkansen and the Winter Games were only 16 years ago. Those stadiums have cost more than ¥400 billion just to maintain? The problems of building Olympic stadiums has also been a problem in other countries too?

The reconstruction of Tohoku will take longer than 30 years but I hope by the time of the Tokyo Games there are no one still living in temporary accommodation although there will still be many who can't return to their former homes in Fukushima, but that will last for many tens of decades.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

I really don't understand why every bidding country has to build a brand new stadium to host these kind of events. While I am all for the design, I don't see why to demolish a building that's not that old - and has a refined architecture, making a deep contrast to the glass boxes of Tokyo.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

There is no debate, they already are going to demo it, this article is 6 months late

1 ( +4 / -3 )

I've been to the National stadium several times, to watch an international sports fixture and participate in citizen's events.

Unfortunately I have to say the existing stadium doesn't do Tokyo justice. When watching an international fixture, I felt sorry for the players.

Tokyo is one of the largest cities in the world, and that is the National stadium? Even middle income countries have more impressive facilities to boast than that.

And frankly these complaints from architects are coming far too late in the piece. Former IOC president Jacques Rogge already announced, "Tokyo!", last summer.

With a new, and sufficiently sized stadium, I have no doubt Tokyo would be able to attract more international events in future. That's very tough as things stand, with the current stadium, which to me looks like it belongs in North Korea.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

“This is not just about the stadium but about Japan’s entire culture,” said Shinichi Nakazawa, an anthropologist and popular social commentator. “We have a responsibility for the legacy we leave behind.”

And your current stadium reflects your cultural, how?

A non Japanese won the design and that`s why everyone is up in arms.

Hopefully the IOC will notify the Japanese Olympic committee about deviating from the original plans presented in the winning bid. Nothing should change. Tons of junk architecture around Tokyo that noone complains about.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Those in favor of a new stadium also contend that project would allow Japan to showcase its architectural prowess.

and how is it suppose to do that? it was designed by a foreigner. if they really want to show off their architectural prowess, have a japanese designer do a full remodel of the old stadium to make it a modern facility. much more difficult that just tearing down and rebulding and if cheaper too so much the better considering the national debt.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

"This is not just about the stadium but about Japan’s entire culture”

Let's read between the lines: these people don't want a centerpiece of their capital to be the work of a foreigner.

Tokyo Skytree is pretty damn massive, and it overwhelms the skyline. Funny how no one complains about that Japanese creation.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

Please refrain from posting rubbish like this. The face that the designer is non-Japanese has absolutely no relevance to this issue.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I think the anti-foreign designer comments above are unfounded. Yes, Japan has a long way to go in terms of cultural acceptance, but that doesn't mean every negative opinion about a foreigner's ideas is BECAUSE of the fact that they're foreign.

Personally, I love the design of the future stadium, especially that overhead view. However, I worry that it really doesn't match the area that it'd be put in. If (hypothetically speaking) this were in downtown Shinjuku mixed among other modern-looking buildings, it'd be fine. But as you can see in the aerial photo of the current stadium, the immediate surrounding area doesn't suit it at all. It's going to stick out like a sore thumb.

I agree with the worries about it falling into disuse post-Olympics. The Nagano structures are a good argument, and another is the stadiums built for the World Cup. Yes, there are J-League teams playing in them, but J-League doesn't come close to filling the more massive buildings that were designed for the world's biggest soccer stage.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Japan has a large number of public stadiums, public halls and other public facilities that are hardly used, built during the bubble era, now consuming millions of yen each month in maintenance charges, due to the local bureaucratic oyaji running them not wishing to open them for special events, or non-standard functions. Much better use could be made of existing facilities, rather than rack up more debt, but I guess the construction lobby will win out...

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The old stadium was well 'used' in more ways than just being used a lot. It is, was, time to build a new one to welcome the world and you know for sure being where it is that is will be WELL used after the Olympics are gone. Time for a new and safer stadium to replace the 50+ year old lady.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

nobody wants the ugly monstrosity

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Build it. All stadiums looks crap from the outside

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

While I think a new stadium should be built, a more restrained model would be better. Tokyo should have world-class facilities, but sadly lacks. When Shizuka Arakawa won the gold in figure skating in 2006, there was a lot of talk from the government about boosting winter sports programs and new arenas. Tokyo, a city of 10-12 million has ZERO public ice arenas-some of the best figure skaters in the world come from Japan, but they are rarely seen in Tokyo....

1 ( +1 / -0 )

169 billion yen on a stadium is an obscene extravagance but at least it will be a combined national sports stadium. It makes much more sense to do that than have separate use stadiums like Wembley, Twickeham and The Olympic stadium in London.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

how can people justify all of this money when there is still homeless people living on the street and people that have been displaced due to natural disasters? why can't they upgrade what they have got or use other stadiums, or build a new one somewhere else?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Sounds like sore losers. The architects all submitted expensive designs requiring the demolition of the existing stadium. 45,000 is too small a capacity for the 21st century. 80,000 seems about right. Answer, better sporting and cultural events will pull in more punters.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Japanese media reports say it will cost about 4.6 billion yen ($45 million) to operate and maintain the new stadium, .......The sports council says it expects some $5 million in annual revenues from events will cover the higher cost.

Anybody else notice this discrepancy? They plan to cover $45 million operating costs with $5 million in annual revenues? No wonder the country is drowning in debt.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

senseiman, exactly... meaning Tokyo citizen tax will be covering Zaha Hadids comfortable life... This project should be done by Japanese firms ONLY and at much lesser cost

0 ( +1 / -1 )

it clashes with Tokyo’s urban planning

So there is actually urban planning in Tokyo. Interesting.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

There's no fear of this stadium falling into disuse after the Olympics - it'll be the new National Stadium. The old one served its purpose very well for a long time, but adapting it has already been ruled out. It's toast...or rubble, soon.

It's hardly a surprise to see those architects who lost out in the competition complaining (perhaps they're annoyed that a non-Japanese architect's design was selected) - personally, I think the new stadium design is amazing and the size is determined by the requirements of the IOC. There are even people saying that it won't 'fit' into the location, when obviously it has been designed to fit in very well.

End of story! I bet most people will be won over when they see what it looks like in real life.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

"The fact that the designer is non-Japanese has absolutely no relevance to this issue"

I'm not the only person to have pointed this out, even on this thread. So what do you think is behind the comment about "Japan’s entire culture”? Are we to believe that grand construction projects that ruin the view aren't part of Japanese culture? Yeah, right.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I don't understand. Why did Tokyo choose non japanese design anyway?

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

@JeffLee

I interpreted that comment as being connected to the preceding and following sentences:

It will have about four times the floor space of the current stadium and dominate the surrounding area of parks and other sports facilities. “This is not just about the stadium but about Japan’s entire culture,” said Shinichi Nakazawa, an anthropologist and popular social commentator. “We have a responsibility for the legacy we leave behind.”

Meaning, if it's too big and dominates the surrounding area, it's going to make the whole area look bad (looking at the broader landscape, not just whether the stadium itself is well-designed or not). In that sense, when you build a huge stadium, it's going to last for many decades and will affect the appearance of the city and the area - and that's part of the culture of Japan.

Japanese culture (including art and architecture) is hardly known for extravagant monstrosities jammed into too-small areas where they don't be long.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I hate this megalomanic bicycle helmet they are going to plonk in the middle of Tokyo, but this is what happens when you give politicians (any politicians) an open-ended invitation to waste taxpayers money. After all, they don´t pay for it. Nothing more fun than blowing other people`s money.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

WilliB - can't believe you're looking at the same design as the rest of us. I think it's stunning and obviously, it will fit the space available. All of the people making criticisms who are referred to in the article seem to me to have ulterior motives for doing so.

Kokuritsu Kyogijou is hardly a beautiful design as it is, and there's lots of open space around it, the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium is really an eyesore and while I like Jingu Stadium and Chichibu Stadium neither of them are architectural classics from the outside, either. Everywhere you go in Tokyo there are odd buildings intruding onto the skyline.

If the critics don't like the chosen design, they should blame the (obviously Japanese) panel that selected it, not the architect ! Looking at the other designs that were submitted, I think this one is probably the best.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It looks like a bug or a bug egg. They are only increasing to 80,0000; the same as the stadium in LA? Seems pricey for less than 30,000 more seats. I guess they can used it in the next Godzilla movie or maybe Mothra...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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